Birding

Day 28: Hunting the Buff-throated Purpletuft

Sometimes you just have to get ice cream instead.

January 28, 2015, Ubatuba, Brazil — On my last full day in the Atlantic Forest area, Rene and I spent the morning birding in Ilhabela state park. We saw more than 50 species of birds in several hours, but only four were new for my big year: Saw-billed Hermit, Rufous-capped Antthrush, Black-cheeked Gnateater, and Greenish Tyrannulet. I’m reaching the saturation point for common Atlantic Forest birds!

Rene rests by a "rest area" sign in Ilhabela state park. Photo: Noah Strycker

In the afternoon we took the ferry back to the mainland and repositioned to a hot beach town called Ubatuba, about halfway between Sao Paulo and Rio, which is packed right now with vacationers (it’s the summer holidays in Brazil, leading up to Carnival). We drove past one beautiful, crowded beach after another, and passed a half dozen shops selling nothing but bikinis, before turning into the forest. Rene thought we stood a chance of finding a creature here called the Buff-throated Purpletuft, which is known to hang around a certain rural hotel. The purpletuft is endemic to this part of Brazil and is a quirky little bird, but…well, we didn’t see it. We did scrape up a couple of other, more expected additions, but it was a slow, sweaty, humid afternoon. After a few hours of staring fruitlessly at the fruiting guava trees the purpletuft is said to visit, we called it a day and went to get some acai ice cream, a Brazilian specialty. Mixed with a little sliced banana and honey, it was pretty tasty!

New birds today: 10

Year list: 606

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